“My father was screaming at me on the phone a few weeks ago. He said, ‘Get back home to Egypt! I don’t want to see you in a body bag or coffin.’ So I told him I’d be safer in Japan even if I got infected with the coronavirus. Medical treatment is better. Plus I’mContinue reading

“Am I afraid of coronavirus? Hell yeah. I make it a point to wear a mask on crowded trains. Am I gonna let that stop me from serving kebab? Hell no. We’re always open for business, come rain or shine. People still gotta eat after all. Although I realize I’ve been working so much sinceContinue reading

“I must have done five internships in total before getting hired by my company now. I sent dozens of cover letters and resumes to lots of different hiring managers, telling them, ‘Hey, I’m a foreigner and I can only speak conversational Japanese. But I’m willing to work for free for up to six months.’ MyContinue reading

“I used to get called ‘dark’ or ‘dirty’ and it would bother me a lot. It made me shut myself inside the house, away from people. You see, my father’s Japanese but my mother is Malaysian, so I look this way. Growing up, sometimes random people would say, ‘She’s a foreigner!’ even though I canContinue reading

“When I was young, I spent a lot of time traveling alone and I loved it. Now that I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown tired of it. From a Western perspective, you hear people say, ‘Traveling alone is good. You discover yourself.’ I totally agree. But it also gets boring and lonely. I realized this whenContinue reading

“Japan recently acknowledged the work that I’ve done integrating foreign actors with the entertainment industry by writing a book on acting in Japan and bringing people across the board together. The biggest problem here isn’t someone’s ability to act, it’s their ability to behave. The small cultural things, like what questions to ask or notContinue reading

“I’ve been vegan since I came to Japan after college. But I’ve been vegetarian for eight years before that. I slowly eased into it by cutting out red meat, then chicken, seafood, and eventually all meat. Although I was still having dairy products and eggs so I was still strictly vegetarian. Then I decided toContinue reading